Tag: Ghanaian economy


Home Truths for the Homeland

Accra-floods

Accra Floods

Watching the Accra floods unfold across my TV and across social media timelines, a sadness and anger triggered within me. And frustration. And a realisation. As much as we love Ghana and for all we have achieved in recent years, there are home truths we’ve not been paying enough attention to. The cedi’s value has become a shambolic mess. Oil we apparently struck a few years back – what happened to the money? Infant/maternal mortality is another simmering issue which charities such as the GUBA Foundation are helping bring to the spotlight. The quality of schooling is poor, as has been recently publicised.

And don’t get me started on dumsor, an issue which is proving to be a terminal illness to business around the country and is as tiresome as the daily debate around it and the attempts to resolve it.

 

In June 2015, The Wall Street Journal noted the following – ‘[Accra is] perhaps the continent’s best example of an urban middle class. In 2011 it was the 2nd-fastest growing economy on EARTH…but [even then] below the city, its infrastructure was crumbling. Power has been off TWO-THIRDS of the time since January, because until recently Accra received almost all of its electricity from a 49-year old hydrodam that hadn’t been getting enough rain. Stop lights are frequently out, jamming up roads that haven’t been broadened. Ports are perpetually backlogged. And the city sewers are especially old…many of them dating back to the British colonial rule.’

 

That excerpt illuminates the fact that the floods in Accra, which produced images akin to a Hollywood disaster film, was a disaster waiting to happen – a landmine lying in wait beneath our foundations, for the right amount of pressure to trigger things to explode and implode.

IMG_5139And this is the crux of the problem. There are issues in Ghana that have been there from the days of Kwame Nkrumah. That’s not good enough. Nkrumah planned to get the Akosombo dam built to match demand at the time; not to meet demand in the future! The dam wasn’t *the* dream; it was the *beginnings* of a dream, for Ghana to start being more self-sufficient, stable and increasingly productive. The issue is we’ve accepted that standard as our ceiling. That standard was set 60 years ago you know. 60 years…

You see, my issue is that it’s not every day ‘build a Trasacco Valley’ or West Hills Mall to act like Ghana is ‘ballin’’, thinking that’s indicative of success. It’s not. Ghana rather needs to prioritise and concentrate on things which may seem simple, but as these floods have shown, are vital. We need to focus on investing and developing the fundamentals.

Things like electricity, water, roads and transport, education, hospitals and healthcare services

…but no. We want to make ourselves look better than we are by building residential areas where only the rich & powerful can afford to live, and building malls where only the rich can afford to shop.

 

Ghana is focused on building its roof when we haven’t even finished laying the foundations –  and that’s a crying shame. That’s why we have cholera outbreaks in Accra, by-the-renewing-of-your-mind-how-to-have-a-strong-foundation-1200x1161why large swathes of the country go without power for days. And that’s why we had a situation like the flood crisis – it was a system failure more than a natural disaster, exposing the fact that despite the energy and resources we’ve put into paving our roof, our house is infested and the foundations aren’t sound.

Our priorities need to change. For we need to realise the truths and stop the cyclical behaviours which fail to demand accountability from those in power and allow us to become complacent and accept inefficiencies as the status quo. Only then, will we finally be set free and realise the perfectness of the Independence dream.

 

By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

“El Ninõ” in 2015 – Consequences for Ghana

What Could Happen if there is Intense and Prolonged Consequences from “El Ninõ” in 2015?

Last Tuesday, while glancing through the Yahoo News, one title “El Ninõ will be ‘substantial’, warn Australian Scientists” caught my attention.

El Ninõ is a Spanish word which basically means “The Little Boy”, or “Christ Child”. However, El Ninõ is a terminology used by NOAA referring to a large-scale-ocean-atmosphere interaction linked to a periodic warming of sea surface across the central and east-central Equatorial pacific.

This occurrence causes surface temperatures to rise above temperatures we normally experience. And its impact is on a large scale, affecting not only the ocean processes but the global weather and climate. Normally, this occurrence lasts for few months but could be prolonged. Consequence of El Ninõ includes intense heat waves,and little rainfall resulting in drought and famine. This intense heat waves means exposure to possible UV light which could cause skin cancer as well as heat shocks, which can deadly.

The article points out that El Ninõ is expected to intensify and last longer this year. In addition, most weather data indicates and supports that the phenomenon is here to stay and its intensity will be significant, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Moreover, the onset of the phenomenon has been confirmed by Japan Meteorological Agency and has even been forecasted that it will continue into late 2015. Currently, India has reported several death associated with this heat wave (click here). The article also described the current El Ninõ to be as strongly fitting the stereotypes of those in 1972, 1982, and 1994, which caused severe drought, very hot daytime temperatures, and bushfires in many parts of the world. El Ninõ effect on broader regions, like the West Africa as one block has been well established for this year, of which there is a possibility of Ghana experiencing this consequences. A recent Financial Times report on global economy indirectly support this claim. The price of Cocoa, a commodity produced mainly by Ghana and Ivory Coast, has rallied more than 10% to two and half year high because of the prospect of a potential El Ninõ.

El Ninõ occurrence in Ghana in 1982, for instance, caused severe drought, high temperature, electricity power outages, bushfires and consequently, severe food and water shortages, cholera epidemic, overwhelmed hospitals and many economic difficulties that befell families (I’m a personal witness), all in 1983. So, reading about the onset of this El Ninõ with similar characteristics as that in 1982, rekindled my 1983 memory. What will happen if this El Ninõ really creates the same circumstances as it did in 1983 in terms of drought and heat? How prepared is Ghana for its possible consequences?

Another likely consequence may be drought. Here, little or no rain with higher rate of evapotranspiration may cause plants to wither and die. This may lead lower crop production. Cocoa, cassava, maize, and much cash crop production will drop. Food shortage and hunger may then occur. Rivers and lakes may dry up and may cause low fish production and potable water availability. Poor nutrition may also lead to sicknesses. And, if there is an epidemic, the clinics and hospitals will become overwhelmed and will return patients home without receiving any medical treatment. In all  this may cause economic stress on the nation.

What if the intensity and duration of the El Ninõ are higher and longer and there is a prolonged drought? Are we ready? A recent visit to Ghana suggests that the temperature is higher than that experienced last year and the rainfall has not started yet. I am not trying to be an alarmist but the knowledge is very critical for preparedness for the possible event. For the reasons, I would humbly suggest that we should start preparing for possible adverse effect by saving food and water and avoid or limit exposure to direct rays from the sun as much as possible.

More info can be found here:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/25/india-heatwave-deaths-heatstroke-temperatures

 

By Douglas Oti

Ghana – Jungle Gold

Gold Rich Land, Dirt Poor People

 

I was up pretty early this morning. Annoying, considering I am on leave and should be getting maximum sleep. Failing to get back to sleep, I reached under the pillow for my phone and went through my daily morning routine of checking my facebook, twitter, whatsapp ad email accounts. It seemed like I was the only one up at stupid o’clock. I laid in the darkness for a bit fiddling with my phone. Then I remembered someone mentioned a Discovery Channel documentary about illegal mining in Ghana the other day. So I ended up on YouTube.

My immediate reactions minutes into the documentary were the usual fury whenever I see something embarrassing on Ghana. But as it went on, it became apparent how overly scripted this documentary is. Many of the scenes have obviously been staged for dramatic effects. It felt like something copied from a re-enactment scene in Crime Watch. Their stay in the “jungle” would not have been complete without the shots of the leech conveniently lodged on the ankle of one of the crew members and a cameo appearance by the highly poisonous green mamba. Funny how there were no mozzies in the “jungle”, with all the pools of murky water these clowns created with their illegal mining. And the subtle play on the old colonial hierarchical system. At the top is the greedy white explorer/exploiter, then the Indian middleman operating the excavator and at the bottom, my people!

 

Many scenes in this documentary may have been scripted, but we cannot ignore the message in there. That a section of Ghanaians can be so poor whilst the land they live on abounds in gold is a shame on every Ghanaian. That two debts-ridden yanks can come into a village in Ghana, have a hearing with the CHIEF and his ELDERS and have little school children take the day off school to perform at the gathering is just unbelievable. Surprising how this issue of illegal mining was not a major debate topic during the election period. I guess this is just an indication of how much these politicians care about the people.

For those two greedy yanks, it was a win/win situation whatever the outcome. If they find the gold, they make money and if they did not find the gold, they would still make money from the screening of the documentary. But for us, all we get from this as a nation is bad press and death traps.

By Maclean Arthur

Ghana’s economy – Gold

Ghana’s Gold

 

Although there is a serious lack of Gold medals in our Olympic history, there is no shortage of the metallic shiny element in Ghana. Our economy depends largely on exports of cocoa and gold, and the latter has been the main focus of Ghana’s mining and minerals development industry since the 1990’s. Ghana is Africa’s 2nd largest gold producer, producing on average 80.5 tones a year.

More than 90% of gold production in the early 1990s came from underground mines in western and Ashanti Region, with the remainder coming from river beds in Ashanti Region and Central Region. In 1992, Ghana’s gold production surpassed 1 million fine ounces, up from 327,000 fine ounces in 1987. In March 1994, the Ghanaian government announced that it would sell half of its 55% stake in AGC for an estimated US$250 million, which would then be spent on development projects.

In October 2005, Red Back Mining of Canada [through its subsidiary Chirano Gold Mines Limited (CGML)] commissioned a new mine in Ghana. The mine, known as the Chirano gold mine, was an open pit operation located about 21 kilometers (km) to the south of AngloGold Ashanti’s Bibiani gold mine in western Ghana. The Chirano gold mine produced 941 kilograms (kg) (reported as 30,247 troy ounces) in 2005 and was 100% owned by Red Back; the Government had the option to exercise its right to back into a 10% ownership in CGML. Chirano was scheduled to produce an average of about 3,800 kg (reported as 123,000 troy ounces) per year during a period of 8½ years.

Since then several more mines have been opened in Ghana since Chirano. The most notable being the Amoanda mining pit (during the fourth quarter of 2005) and the Rex pit (in 2007).

According to figures released earlier this year by the Ghana Chamber of Mines, revenue made from gold mined in Ghana and sold on the international market was $4.6 billion in 2011, up from $3.6 billion in 2010. Ghana’s major trading partners for exports such as gold are the European Union, United States, Nigeria, and Togo.

So my question is with all the gold revenue made by Ghana in the 90’s to the present day why do we still lack the funding for many infrastructure projects within Ghana? Is the money being mismanaged? Or is there more to it than that?

I want to know your thoughts. Leave your comments below.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Change in GH – Telecommunications

The rise of Mobile Telecommunication

 

One of the most visible changes in Ghana over the last five years has been the growth of the mobile phone industry. If the truth be told mobile communication has grown massively all over Africa with companies wanting a piece of this newest lucrative marker.

In Ghana nowadays everybody and their grand mama (my grandma literally owns one!) now has a cell phone. Sim cards cost a mere cedi. There are currently 5 cell phone networks, with MTN being the biggest, followed by Vodafone, Tigo, Airtel and Zain.

A lot of younger Ghanaians and businessmen/women have two or three handsets and news spreads fast. But the biggest effect can be seen on the streets, that is the number of young Ghanaians, men and women who make their living by selling phone credits (Street vendors). Entertainment events/shows and TV programmes are also often sponsored by the mobile phone companies.

Mobile phone access in Ghana is quickly outpacing that of landline phones and changing the nature of communication.  According to social surveys it is estimated that three quarters of the population have used or owned a mobile phone for some purpose in within the last year.

The development of the telecommunication industry in the country is one typical area among others that has flourished because of a stable working environment in Ghana. These telecommunication industries have employed the majority of youth in the country, thereby bringing job opportunities to many young people

Mobile phone usage in Ghana is likely to change rapidly over the next several years as new applications and phone models become available.

What do you think of the growth of Mobile telecommunication in Ghana? Is it good for society?

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi (Kwesi)

A strong partnership…

STRCCI teams up with its counterpart in Trinidad!!

 

The Sekondi-Takoradi Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also known as (STRCCI) is establishing links with the Energy Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tabago to enable it assist its members to take advantage of the Oil and Gas Local Content Bill when it is passed into law.

Mr. Ato Van-Ess, Chairman of the STRCCI stated this at the chamber’s third bi-monthly meeting at Takoradi on Thursday.

He said the link would allow the STRCCI to benefit from the experience of the Energy Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago in the energy sector.

Mr. Van-Ess said the STRCCI is thinking seriously about the establishment of an enterprise development centre to equip and prepare its members with skills to take advantage of business opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

He claimed there was also the need for a Skills Development Centre to train manpower for the energy sector.

Mr. Van-Ess advised members to involve the chamber in negotiations with investors in order to protect and safeguard them from fraudsters.

Mr. Cadmond Dadzie, Treasurer of the STRCCI, appealed for the speedy passage of the Local Content Bill into law, adding that it was essential that the bill is passed into law so that institutions that would be mandated to implement the law could do so.

I have to say I’m loving the partnership, working together and movement towards a better and brighter future of Ghana as well as Africa as a whole continent.

Let us move forward YENKO!!

By CLOUDIA